Bloodroot is a 6-10" tall woodland wildflower native to the eastern United States. The plant emerges in early spring with one large palmate leaf wrapped around the flower bud. The leaf unfurls as the flower blooms or shortly thereafter. Flowers are white with 8-10 petals and bright yellow stamens and generally bloom between March and May. Leaves are green and horseshoe-shaped with several lobes. Leaf veins are prominent and give the leaf a quilted look. Fruits are long green pods that produces round seeds. Seeds turn black to orangish-red when ripe.
Bloodroot is mainly active in the spring, blooming and fruiting by early summer. Come mid- to late-summer, bloodroot plants become dormant. The flowers are pollinated by small insects such as bees and flies. The seeds are dispersed by ants. Bloodroot plants grow in wet to moist woods often near streams or wetland areas. All parts of this plant exude a red sap that native Americans used as a dye. The sap is toxic to animals and humans and has components which are being studied for possible cancer treatments. Bloodroot is cultivated as an ornamental and makes a beautiful spring flower in gardens.